No matter how often you vacuum your carpet, over time it will suffer from ground-in dirt, dust, dander, pet hair, and other environmental debris, causing it to look dingy and used. But you can definitely extend the longevity of your plush flooring and keep it looking practically new by shampooing it on a regular basis. And whether you elect to hire a professional to do the job for you or you adopt a DIY attitude and rent a wet vac from your local grocer or hardware store, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you to make the most of your carpet shampooing experience. Here are some guidelines to get you on track.
- Shampoo annually. The amount of time you can go between shampoos will depend on a variety of factors, including the color of your carpet (white and cream tend to show dirt and staining more quickly), the traffic volume through your home, and whether your carpets are beset by infrequent stains like food, mud, and so on, amongst other things. If your carpet is a forgiving neutral, the traffic is minimal, and you’re careful to avoid staining, shampooing annually should be sufficient to maintain a new-carpet look for years to come.
- Vacuum first. Before you start wetting and shampooing your carpet it’s a good idea to suck up as much extraneous material as you can with your regular vacuum. This will not only help to ensure that the wet vac doesn’t get clogged with debris, but it could also allow you to change the water less frequently, making the shampooing process quicker.
- Move the furniture. If your entire house is populated by plush flooring, moving out all the furniture can be a pretty tall order. It will, of course, be easier if you have some tiled or wooden surfaces to temporarily store your furniture. But either way you should move furniture off the carpet while you shampoo for a couple of important reasons. First, you want to shampoo the whole carpet, including areas under furniture that you rarely clean to begin with. Second, the wetness in your carpet can spread, potentially creeping up furniture legs to cause damage and even stain carpeting where the furniture rests.
- Consider wet versus dry cleaning. These days you can actually find services that offer to come in and dry clean your carpets. But the process isn’t totally dry – it simply uses significantly less water in order to speed drying time and reduce the potential for damage during the carpet cleaning process.
Give it enough time to dry. A reputable service like Duraclean provides you with trained professionals that know how to make sure too much water doesn’t seep into your carpet during cleaning. You might overdo it. The important thing to remember, though, is that your carpet must be completely dry before you return your furniture to recently shampooed rooms. And this could take anywhere from about 2 to 24 hours, depending on the type of cleaning you choose, the temperature, humidity, and air circulation in shampooed rooms, and the thickness of your pile, just for example. So think about spending the night elsewhere if you think your carpets may take several hours to fully dry.